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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Sen. Al Franken’s constituents are quite literally crying over Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill, revealed in draft form by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last week.

“We’re talking about completely going backward,” the Minnesota Democrat said in a “Morning Joe” interview Monday. “We’re talking about an $880 billion cut [to] Medicaid and matching that with a $900 billion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.”

As a member of the Senate Health Committee and co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Rural Health Caucus, Franken regularly participates in town halls devoted to health care access for Minnesotans.

“I’ve gone to rural health meetings in hospitals and nursing homes and clinics people are crying about this [bill],” he explained. “One woman was crying because her mom gets her home health care through Medicaid… and she says she’s going to lose that.”

Franken also addressed the divide between progressives and moderates in his own part, acknowledging the party needs to win back rural Americans who voted for Donald Trump.

“How do you change the view that the Democrats are simply ‘limousine Democrats’; that the party is in the [pocket] of Wall Street,” panelist Eddie Glaude Jr. asked Franken.

“Well, we gotta stop riding in limousines,” Franken deadpanned.

“But there’s a presumption, right?” Glaude Jr. pressed. “That the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is no different than corporate Republicans, right?”

“If you’re talking about limousines,” Franken pivoted, getting back to the health bill. “How about the top 400 people in terms of tax cuts here. The amount of money they’ll get in tax cuts would pay for Medicaid for 750,000 people.”

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.